Sesiya – The origin and background to this unique name

The name “Sesiya” derives from Sesiya Hamba, a Zulu song meaning we are leaving, e.g. sung when returning home to the rolling hills of Zululand after working in a hellish job in a big city.

William James grew up in Durban, South Africa. He wrote, “At Glenwood High School in Durban I had to cycle home up Berea Road, which was essentially long and quite steep, and it always seemed to be steamingly hot. Buses fully loaded with Zulu workers laboured uphill and I was able to catch up and grab the rear left corner with my right hand to catch a free ride up the hill (choked by the clouds of diesel exhaust). No, agreed, not particularly clever. In those days Zulus were naturally musical, harmonizing from infancy – people at a bus stop would spontaneously break into really beautiful singing. For me, in the heat and choking fumes, their singing in the bus was inspiring. Sesiya Hamba was typical. Who could forget it?”

A note above the nav station in Sesiya reads “‘Sesiya Hamba’ is the Zulu anthem ‘We are Leaving’, generally sung as a resolve to continue the fight against apartheid. It raises images of the beautiful rolling hills of Zulualand as opposed to the hellish treadmill of the white cities. The sentiments are similar, whether settling in Canada from South Africa, or sailing in Georgian Bay after a week’s work in Hamilton.”

Google “Sesiya Hamba” now, and you’ll find it referred to as a drinking song, though that’s not how Mr. James originally perceived it. Click here for a recording of Sesiya Hamba.

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Page updated: 2020-10-04.

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2020-08-23: HM: Added Page created.
2020-10-04: Removed password protection.

Page maintained by H. Morrin.